Never follow a student. That is my public speaking advice for all of you. Those of you who attended last night’s celebration for our successful completion of the “Talent. Opportunity. Promise.” campaign know what I am talking about. Student speakers George Copeland and Bethany Thrun spoke with energy and eloquence. A majority of our faculty and staff contributed to the campaign to the tune of more than $1 million combined, and I saw many of you, as well as many other of our committed friends at the event. To all of you who supported the campaign in any way: Thank you. It was a wonderful celebration, as we raised $28 million, our largest campaign to date. Among the highlights: more than $8 million for STEM initiatives and more than 200 new scholarships created. The campaign began during Eric Gilbertson’s term as president, and he and his predecessor, Jack Ryder, were in attendance. I was pleased to share the moment with them, and we should all be grateful for those who have contributed to building the fine university we enjoy today.
I continue to be impressed by research projects involving our faculty and students. This week, it was brought to my attention that Khandaker Abir Rahman, assistant professor of computer science and information systems, and Dustyn Tubbs, a computer science major from Midland, recently submitted a research paper on improving facial recognition technology to the 8th International Conference on Multimedia Communications, Services and Security. They will be traveling to Poland to present their findings with support from the Undergraduate Research Program (UGRP). Over the summer, Tubbs participated as a research fellow with the Michigan Space Grant Consortium, studying the same topic. Congratulations to these two and my continued appreciation to all faculty and students collaborating on these sorts of research projects.
Our recent accounting and finance employment fair was a success. Some 130 of our students met with 35 organizations who came to campus to recruit. Both numbers are a significant increase over last year. My thanks to those in Career Services and the College of Business and Management who supported this event. Please remind your students to mark their calendars for the fall University-wide Employment Fair coming up Friday, Oct. 16 from noon to 3 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall Banquet Rooms.
Next week, SVSU is kicking off our United Way campaign, which will be tied to our HealthyU Wellness Program and a pedometer challenge. We are hosting three events Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 9 a.m. in Science West 108, at 12:30 p.m. in the Ott Auditorium in Gilbertson Hall; and at 3 p.m. in Curtiss Hall C 100. These will feature prizes, refreshments, an opportunity to pick up your pedometer, and more information about how you can support your local community through United Way.
I am sure I will be seeing many of you this weekend for one or more of the many events we are hosting. Men’s and women’s soccer have home matches Friday afternoon and again Sunday. On Friday night, we induct another class into our Cardinal Athletic Hall of Fame. You can read about the inductees.
Saturday, we are pleased to host the 9-11 Heroes Run, a Community Youth Day for Track and Field, a home tennis match, and multiple tailgates prior to our first home football game at 1 p.m. against Michigan Tech. On top of that, Admissions is hosting a Cardinal College Day and expecting more than 200 prospective students to visit campus with their families Saturday. This is in addition to the 250 who visited last month. My thanks to everyone who is helping to ensure that we have a great campus environment and that we represent this university well this weekend and all year long.